I have a confession to make.
When I take off my beloved black or maroon nail polish, my nails look sick. Acetone remover can literally peel paint off the walls and pull hair on my chest, but it won’t do anything for my nails after they’ve been baked with a dark red polish for a couple of months.
But I find comfort in the fact that I’m not alone on this. Polish lovers everywhere have the same problem. But before we swear off polish for good, there are a couple of tricks to get our miserably stained nails all bright and shiny again.
Before we talk about these popular hacks, you first have to know the possible causes of yellow, discolored nails.
So what causes yellow nails?
Most commonly, yellow nails are caused by your favorite nail polish. The darker polishes are known to damage your nails more, leaving them stained with leftover dyes. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by always using a clear base coat before applying your opaque polish of choice. Not only does a base coat increase the life of your nail polish, but it also seals and protects the nail plates from staining.
Experts also believe that a daily application of a high-quality nail oil containing jojoba or squalene will protect the nails from staining.
The next biggest cause of yellow nails is the nicotine and tar found in cigarettes. Stop smoking at once if you’re a smoker! I know quitting is difficult, but that’s the truth.
None of these sound like you? Well, there could be a medical factor at play, meaning there may be a deeper, more health related underlying cause to your yellow nails. You need to see a dermatologist as soon as you can.
Not to scare you or anything, but fungal infection is one of the most common causes of yellow nails. Symptoms include flaking and peeling of the nail, along with an unpleasant odor and staining. As the infection worsens, the nail bed could retract, which could make your nails grow thicker and prone to crumbling.
A change in the color of your nails can also be a sign of something more serious. Liver, thyroid, and lung diseases can also cause yellowing of the nails. You might also want to see a doctor to check if you’re low in zinc or iron.
But don’t fret – there are over-the-counter treatments for yellow nails caused by fungal infection, but it’s best to see a dermatologist first. Prescription treatments are far more effective than OTC topical products. And I believe that you’ll get a proper diagnoses and the best type of treatment when you see a medical professional, than just by making all the guess work yourself.
So how do you get rid of the yellow stain on the nails?
Besides putting a stop to smoking and using a base coat, you can also try these tips:
- Soak your nails in lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes every day until you are satisfied with the results.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2-1/2 tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, paint the solution on your nail and then rinse after 3 minutes. Repeat this treatment every six to eight weeks. If you don’t have baking soda on hand, water should work just fine. Try mixing one part hydrogen peroxide in three parts water to whiten nails in a small bowl and soak your nails for 10 minutes. Make sure to rinse your nails really well afterward and apply hand cream or cuticle oil.
- You can get rid of immediate nail stains (again, this tip is not for long-term stains) such as pink or reddish nails from wearing red nail polish by scrubbing a whitening toothpaste on your nails using a nail brush.
- The top layer of your nails is the part with the yellow stain. By buffing your nails, you will get rid of the top layers which will somehow remove some of the stains. So this method might work but buffing your nails is not recommended because it can make your nails weaker. This process removes the topmost layers of the nail plate and can lead to peeling and splitting. If you choose to buff your nails however, use a clear strengthening polish after.
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